Coronavirus pandemic is historical test for EU, Merkel says
The coronavirus is the European Union’s biggest ever challenge and member states must show greater solidarity so that the bloc can emerge stronger from the economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Germany and the Netherlands have been criticised by Italy and Spain - the two countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak - for rejecting calls that the euro zone issue common debt to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.
Merkel reaffirmed Germany’s opposition to pooling its debt with other countries in the euro system but said she supported using the currency bloc’s bailout fund to help badly affected countries to weather the crisis.
“In my view... the European Union is facing the biggest test since its foundation,” Merkel told a news conference. “We have a big health challenge that is impacting all member states, however differently. It is a symmetrical shock.”
Stressing that Germany would be weakened if the EU was seen as showing insufficient solidarity with its most needy members, Merkel said: “It will be about showing that we are ready to defend our Europe, to strengthen it.”
Germany would also support a post-crisis stimulus programme for the euro zone and the broader EU. “Here too, Germany is ready to make a contribution,” she said.